Beyond the "Politics of Toil": Collective Mobilization and Individual Activism in Toronto's Portuguese Community, 1950s-1990s

By Fernandes, Gilberto | Urban History Review, Fall 2010 | Go to article overview

Beyond the "Politics of Toil": Collective Mobilization and Individual Activism in Toronto's Portuguese Community, 1950s-1990s


Fernandes, Gilberto, Urban History Review


The following article examines the changing political attitudes of Portuguese immigrants in Canada from the arrival of the first cohort in the 1950s to the emergence of the second and third generations in Canadian mainstream society in the 1990s. In explores historical factors that have influenced the political profile of Portuguese Canadians, including its predominantly working-class makeup; its lack of formal education and democratic culture resulting from Portugal's authoritarian legacy; and its internal factionalism along regional, ideological, generational, and class lines. Fernandes offers a historical critique of sociological models--"socio-economic status" and "socializaton"--commonly used for measuring and explaining immigrant political participation, and stresses the importance of diachronic studies in dispelling essentialist assumptions regarding immigrant communities. The author argues that generalist notions of "political participation" and "political constituency" miss important distinctions between representative and direct forms of political action, collective mobilization and individual activism, as well as state level and grassroots politics. He claims that each of these political processes operates according to its own distinct internal dynamics, at times responsive, at other times alienated from one another, which must be analyzed using appropriate scales of observations (much and micro).

L'auteur examine l'evolution des attitudes politiques des immigres portugais as Canada depuis l'arrivee dans les annees 1950 de la premiere cohorte jusqu'a l'emergence dans les annees 1990 des deuxieme et troisieme generations dans la societe canadienne majoritaire. Il etudie certains facteurs historiques qui ont influence le profil politique des Canado-portugais, y compris sa composition de classe ouvriere predominante, son manque d'education et de culture democratique formelles - resultat de l'heritage autoritaire du Portugal - et ses factions internes regionals, ideologiques, generationnelles et de classe. Fernandes propose une critique historique de modeles sociologiques - le "statut socio-economique" et la "socialisation" - couramment utilises pour mesurer et expliquer la participation politique des immigrants; il souligne l'importance des etudes diachroniques pour dissiper les hypotheses essentialistes sur les communautes immigrantes. L'auteur fait valoir que notions generalistes de la "participation politique" et de la "circonscription politique" ecartent des distinctions importantes entre les formes representatives et directes de l'action politique, la mobilisation collective et l'activisme individuel, ainsi que la politique au niveau de l'Etat et a la base. Il affirme que chacun de ces processus politiques fonctionne selon ses propres dynamiques internes distinctes, parfois sensibles, a d'autres moments alienees les unes des autres, qui doivent etre analysees en utilisant des echelles d'observation appropriees (macro et micro).

The few social studies conducted on the Portuguese in Canada have characterized this immigrant group as politically inactive. Produced during the early stage of the community's urban settlement, their findings, however, have yet to be further substantiated and updated. In fact, even the most superficial assessment of Portuguese-Canadian media reveals a more complicated political reality than what is suggested in surveys that measure participation solely through electoral results. This article provides a review of the political history of Toronto's Portuguese community and addresses the apparent inconsistency between group representation at the state level and community politics at the grassroots level. Here, I will examine what accounts for immigrant political participation, what factors have determined the extent of their political activity, and how these have developed over the years. In doing so, I will incorporate insights from two dominant paradigms in sociology that focus on measuring and explaining immigrant political participation--the socio-economic status model and the socialization perspective. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Beyond the "Politics of Toil": Collective Mobilization and Individual Activism in Toronto's Portuguese Community, 1950s-1990s
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.